Elaine de Kooning


Elaine de Kooning (1918-1989) was not simply someone's spouse.

She was an important player in the emergence of Abstract Expressionism but also an accomplished artist in her own right.  De Kooning was also an instructor, an art critic and an editorial associate for Art News magazine. Like many of her female peers, she was dismissed or underestimated while being in the shadow of a famous husband. 

She was a fierce defender of the Abstract Expressionism movement and in 1943 married one of its heroes: Willem de Kooning. They had a long, tumultuous and unconventional relationship. She promoted Willem's work throughout their years together, even when she was eclipsed or undermined by her husband's fame. (For that reason, she signed her artworks with her initials rather than her full name, in order to not be confused with her husband.)

In 1958, she travelled to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, where she saw her first bullfight. The experience inspired a series of bull paintings and prints on horizontal canvases. Despite her devotion to the Abstract Expressionism movement, she retained her interest in figuration and ironically much of her best-known work, such as her portraits of John F. Kennedy, are representational. 

Elaine de Kooning had a fruitful relationship with the Tamarind Institute (Los Angeles) creating a significant body of prints in the 1970's, including several that focused on the Bull. 

The delicate, yet dynamic depiction of the bull is realized with precisely modulated shading and a sense of movement and drama that could be borrowed from the best Abstract Expressionist paintings. We can see an influence of Willem de Kooning and Arshile Gorky, two abstract artists who frequently included figurative elements in their compositions.

This is a fine example of Elaine de Kooning's style, an intersection between Abstract Expressionism and Figurative Expressionism. 

Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, among others.

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Signed and numbered in pencil along lower edge

Lithograph on Rives BFK

From an edition of 20

15”H 21”W (work)

27.5”H 33”W (framed)

Very good condition

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